James K. Fasuekoi, Minn. – I have the feeling there’s just something special about the East Coast that gets one excited and always want to visit there, especially for those of us who have lived there before. Such was the excitement that came to me recently while on my way to visit good old Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and then New York. And make no mistake, I shall always regard Pennsylvania as my home-state in the US.
After driving about 18 hours, we spent the night in Macungie, near Whitehall/Allentown, where I once lived for many years. I remembered Penn., for two reason: The Amish culture and the way life flourished there with me like a blooming flower. I always looked out to see Amish horse-drawn carts riding along the highways to Reading and Lancaster about an hour each from Whitehall where I lived.
The Amish in the area usually host a flea market and it was something I always looked forward to going to. Plus, the life of a typical Amish that forbids him from using things of this modern era such as electricity, cell phone, modern cars (as means of common transportation) among many other things actually touched me to a point that I wanted to visit their land, live with them to understand their life so I could write and relate it to my fellow Africans but that never happened till I left.
From Macungie, (and I once had a job in Macungie), we headed early to Newark, and New York. The plan was to get to New York, take care of what we were there for and then return to Minnesota, another 24 hours drive.
I love everything about the Big Apple, except that chaotic traffic jammed and yarna boys standing around streets corners trying to get you to buy from them like we do down waterside in Monrovia. And I never stopped too watching the fast movements of people, including tourists from around the world, fighting to make their way to Time Square just to get a historic photograph. But all in all, these are some of the things plus many more that get New York what it is.
On our way back, I managed to sneak into downtown Newark with the hope of visiting the Sahara African store there and get some food stuff that might otherwise be little expensive in the Twin Cities but I got the shock of my life. First, to my surprise, Sahara is now under a new management. That’s because, my wonderful in law, Mariema Fofana who previously owned the store, is now serving as a Representative for Lofa County. Secondly, the prices of goods there seem far higher than we have in Minnesota so, apart from one or two items, we couldn’t buy much from there.
Around the corner from the African store, I noticed that brothers like Alieo and Sekou Fofana, who along with other folks who operated booming video and computer networking businesses there, at the time I was still living in Penn., were no longer around. When I requested Sekou’s number from Sahara’s new manager, a visitor there gave me a number that didn’t work. Still, I wanted to drive up the road to Central Ave., to see if I could see little niece Mamawa before departing New Jersey but noticed time wasn’t in our favor and we had to begin leaving.
The last time I saw Mamawa was in Liberia, 2011-12 while I covered the country’s then general elections that was later widely disputed by the country’s opposition. But President Ellen Johnson succeeded herself anyway. See few pixs from the long-exhausting journey, mostly in my beloved Penn., New Jersey and New York.